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Shaft line cutters, Yes? No?-gctid800661

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    Shaft line cutters, Yes? No?-gctid800661

    I am considering shaft line cutters.

    How many of you have them?

    What brands?

    What caveats?

    For those of you that don't have them:

    What geographically area do you boat in?

    For how long?

    Have you ever wrapped line around your props/shafts

    Results of wraps

    Thanks in advance!

    2000 4788 w Cummins 370's, underhulls, swim step hull extension
    12' Rendova center console with 40HP Yamaha
    MV Kia Orana
    Currently Enjoying the PNW

    Boat in/around southern BC waters mostly - crab traps everywhere. When I first bought the boat I intended on adding line cutters, but kinda waited for them to be needed, rather than wanted. To date I've not picked up a line - been 6 years with this boat. Others I boat with just keep a mask, snorkel and sharp knife handy... I followed their lead.. I'm still prepared to change my mind though...
    1989 Bayliner 3270


      Mostly cruise the Canadian Gulf Islands, San Juans, Puget Sound and cross the Strait of Georgia sometimes. Outside of Ganges, Salt Spring Island I got a crab trap line wrapped around the starboard prop. It caused a sever vibration past 1200 rpm. Because we just putting around at low rpm and stopping in short distance ports I didn't realize the severity of it until leaving Deer Harbor heading to Anacortes. I called North Harbor Diesel to see if they could lift me out to check it. I ran on one engine and got there with their lift in the water waiting for me. They raised her up and the float and line were indeed wrapped around the prop. WE cut it loose re-launched and took it for a test run with no vibration.

      I do not have a mask or snorkel as I have no intention of getting in these cold waters. Hopefully, I will be able to limp in on one engine if needed and call a diver or get a lift out.

      I have had elevated temperatures on my starboard engine for 4 years. I have checked everything that could be causing it on the engine, I finally took pitch off the prop and the temps lowered by 150 degrees. Recently I had a mechanic check out other possibilities to solve the problem. First thing he did was spin the prop by hand from the outside in dry storage. Port prop he could turn, starboard prop would not move. He took the shaft bearing off and there was a white nylon line that had been pulled in to the bearing and fused or melted to the bearings and shaft. That restraint on the engine was the cause all along. Not One, of many mechanics thought to look outside the engine to solve the problem.

      I will be so grateful to finally have an engine running at normal temperatures so I don't have to be looking at the pyrometer and engine temps like dog all the time. I am taking the boat out for a test run next week.

      Jerome Robbins
      Commodore, Fidalgo Yacht Club - 2019
      Anacortes, WA

      1999 Bayliner 2859 Ciera Express, V8-7.4L
      Previously owned:2001 Bayliner 4788 - twin 370 Cummins,
      1994 Bayliner Ciera 2855 V8-7.4L
      1994 Bayliner Classic 2252 V6-5.2L


        Hi Steve

        When we got our 45 in 1995 it had cutters on it,found out after two seasons ( hauled for bottom paint) that the cutters were rubbing against V strut baring so removed cutters. (Guess they were installed wrong).we cruise from our San Juan Islands,Canadian Gulf Islands,Desolation Sound,up to Port Moody.We have been cruising for 40 yrs and only once caught a line around a prop,(that was on a different boat) caused a vibration on Stb.motor so only went about 8 kts it was the last day of our vacation..o well.So four boats no cutters and only one time had line around prop in areas with shrimp,crab,pots some w/ floating line....the line that I did get warped up in was blue poly 1 1/2 not sure if line cutters can handle that ??.

        Good luck Brad
        Brad & Sharon
        Lady Jake
        1985 4550 EH 700TI /Twin Disc 502
        Anacortes/La Conner, Wa.


          We have Shaft Shark line cutters.

          Cant guarantee they work but the peace of mind is priceless.

          Very little will stop a twin engine boat in its tracks faster than getting caught up in a shrimp pot line.

          4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA

          Whats the weather like on our boat

          Where are we right now?


            Had them on our 60' service boat and still ended up having divers cut line off the running gear. The boat made a lot of night trips through areas of lobster/crab gear, not sure if they worked some of the time, but definitely not all the time. Maybe different types are better, not sure of the brand that we used, removed them a few years ago (still use a diver on occasion).
            1988 3218 Figgy Duff
            135 Hinos


              Interesting discussion on Active Captain dot com this week re cutters; I have never used them. Will call a diver if I need one...


                Here is the Active Captain article.

                Shaft Cutters >>>

                As plans start to become formed for summer cruising, worries about

                crab and lobster pots start to be heard. It's been said that in many

                cruising areas in Maine, you can walk from lobster pot to lobster pot.

                What follows is our experience of boating in Maine for 20+ years. Your

                experience might be different - that's OK. The whole purpose of

                ActiveCaptain is to present different opinions based on direct

                experience to assist you in making your own decision.

                Our first weekend-cruising boat had Spurs shaft cutters installed. After

                our lobster boat, we'd take this boat a few hundred miles in all

                directions and didn't want a lobster pot to grab us in a remote place.

                In our first season with that boat, we picked up a couple of lobster

                pots one afternoon on our shaft in our home harbor.

                A few years later, we purchased aCappella and started cruising thousands

                of miles from home. Jeff became a certified diver and helped a friend

                for 3 summers doing the diving for his new TowBoat US franchise. Every

                one of those dives resulted in cutting lobster pots off a shaft.

                Here's his incredible finding - half the boats he dove on had shaft

                cutters. Half! When a pot line gets wrapped up, the synthetic line heats

                up and fuses into a solid mass. While cutting off the plastic mess that

                resulted, he often cut himself on the shaft cutters installed that were

                hidden by the line.

                So first lesson - if you have shaft cutters installed and ever need a

                diver, tell the diver immediately that you have cutters and describe

                them. They can rarely be seen when the shaft is fouled and many models

                are razor sharp.

                So what did we learn from our experience?

                First, every boater Jeff saved was interviewed - what did they see? What

                did they do to avoid the pot? The answers were amazingly consistent as

                well as consistent with our own experience when we picked up our pot.

                Assuming you're making an attempt to avoid the pots (some boats don't

                and they're just asking to get nailed), there appear to be two

                scenarios for picking up a pot:  1) You backed into a pot while anchoring

                - this is very easy to do but also pretty safe since you're likely

                secure; and 2) You snagged one when there was nothing directly visible

                to avoid. In other words, you never saw it coming.

                For #2, it's also the case that nearly everyone thought they picked up a

                single pot but had actually picked up 3 or more pots. On one 120 foot

                yacht, they had more than 20 pots wrapped up so badly it required two

                tanks of air to get it all cut off.

                After 10 years of watching pots and putting this all together, we think

                the problem happens when multiple pots tangle, often at low tide. High

                tide comes and lifts the spider web that forms and keeps most of the

                line under the water and invisible. Boaters never saw the pots that got

                them. And because multiple pots were getting tangled, the underwater

                web could extend out and away for many yards. The boat slides through

                the area and picks up one line at the perfect water level and the rest

                of the pots all tangle together onto the shaft.

                This might make it seem like you don't stand a chance. But actually

                there are visible signs of this type of situation. Often, tangled pots

                can be seen on the surface. Sometimes, a tangled pot is also held low in

                the water. These signs should be large warnings to you. Go out of your

                way to avoid that area. The hazard isn't at the visible pot buoys - it's

                all around that area extending 10 or more yards in all directions. Take

                your boat out of gear if you're too close and carefully watch if

                anything is picked up.

                So do shaft cutters work? Our experience is no. And neither aCappella

                nor Red Head has them and we have no intention of putting them on.

                As we draw closer to summer, we'll discuss other issues with lobster

                pots, explain their architecture, and give some other tips to help you

                avoid them.
                1987 3270
                H/P - Powell River, B.C.